Monday, September 12, 2011

The Leap of Doubt (The Reason for God part 2)

I'm reading through Tim Keller's book "The Reason for God" and taking my small group through a DVD study based on the book.  Over the next few weeks, I'll be blogging about the book, the study, and the discussions occuring in my group.

I want to kick things off discussing how Keller lays out his approach.  In his opening chapter, he suggests that both believers and skeptics should approach doubt in a new way and that by doing so, even if they don't change their positions, they will come to a place of greater humility and graciousness with those who disagree with them.  This is certainly a worthwhile goal in a culture like ours; one that seems to grow more polarizing with each passing day.

Keller first suggests that believers look at the reasons behind their faith:

"A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it.  People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probling questions of a smart skeptic."

Keller then suggests that skeptics look for "a type of faith hidden within their reasoning."

All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs.  You canot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B."  For example, "some people say, 'I don't believe in Christianity because I can't accept the existence of moral absolutes.  Everyone should determine moral truth for him or herself.'  Is that a statement they can prove to someone who doesn't share it?  No, it is a leap of faith, a deep belief that individual rights operate not only in the political sphere but also in the moral.  There is no empirical proof for such a position. So the doubt (of moral absolutes) is a leap."

What do you think of Keller's suggestion for how both believers and skeptics should approach doubt?  Do you find it helpful or unhelpful?  Would this promote more gracious dialogue and less shouting and name calling?

1 comment:

J at said...

I think it's always a good idea to keep your mind open to the possibilities that there are other realities that you haven't figured out yet. That's one thing I like about science...scientists embrace questioning of their beliefs. And religious people who explore their skepticism. It can only bring us closer together. We don't have to agree at all about a higher power in order to agree about plenty of other things.